© 2018 by Emma Hine. Cover art is Rope Bridge, Carrick-a-Rede. County Antrim, Ireland from the Library of Congress.


American Folly, American Dream

Guernica Magazine, 2019.


In 1997, J. David Bamberger commissioned the world’s largest man-made bat cave, to be built on a large tract of parched land in the Texas Hill Country he had purchased almost 30 years earlier. The cave cost at least $170,000 and was dubbed the Chiroptorium, a marriage of auditorium and chiroptera, the taxonomic order for bats. Its structure consisted of three domes—eight thousand square feet of roosting space—made from twenty tons of rebar sprayed with gunite, a mixture of sand, water, and cement most often used in the construction of in-ground pools. “I wanted to demonstrate that man-made habitat can mitigate man-made damage,” Bamberger told a reporter for BATS magazine.